How Do I Follow Up With a Venue That Hasn’t Returned My Email?
"This post comes from a question that was asked in response to our post How to Write a Bad Pitch Letter.
THE ARTIST: Art Elliot
THE QUESTION: I have a question that I hope someone here can help me with. After you’ve sent an email and you don’t hear back for a week or two, is it ok to resend the same email in the case that it got lost in the shuffle? I don’t want to come off as being pushy, but I want to make sure that they actually received the email.
THE ANSWER: Art, this is a really great question that I think a lot of people struggle with. It’s hard to know how to follow up on a email when you don’t know if it was ever read, if it reached the correct person, or if the receiver purposely didn’t get back to you. So we’ve got a few suggestions on what you can do.
1. Make Sure You Have the Correct Recipient
If you sent the email to an address like firstname.lastname@example.org, your email could be getting lost in the shuffle. Call the venue and ask the name and correct email address of the booker. Sometimes they will give you the same generic email address, but other times they will give you something more specific along with the booker’s name – like email@example.com. You never want to send an email without including the recipients name. If there’s a way to get it, get it! It’s a tiny detail that can make a world of a difference.
2. Give it Time
Before you even think to follow up, make sure you’ve given it some time. For some venues, following up after 2 weeks is much too soon. For some, 6 weeks is still too soon. Read the venue’s booking guidelines to know what’s best. If they don’t have guidelines, just use your discretion. It’s really hard to know what’s best in this area.
3. Send an “RE:”
When you’ve confirmed that your original email was sent to the correct recipient and you’ve given it some time, send a a follow up message with the original message included. Make sure the “RE:” is in the header along with the Subject Heading from the original message. RE indicates that this is not the first email. I can’t guarantee that this will encourage a booker to read your email sooner, but it will set your email apart from others that are being sent for the first time.
4. Keep it Short
No need to write a book or another email pitch. You already sent one. Just keep it simple. Here are a few things you can say when you're following up:
Just wanted to follow up on my original message below.
Thanks and I hope to hear back,
(Make sure you include the original email within the thread so he knows what you’re referencing. Sending a short, but sweet email like this is great for venues that get hundreds of pitches each day because chances are they really didn’t see your first attempt in their inbox.)
I thought I’d check in regarding my original message. My route has changed a bit and I’m currently looking to book the 12th instead of the 13th. Thanks for reading and I hope to hear back!
(It's always great when you can included some new information that makes it worth reading the email. Date changes in your tour are a great excuse to follow up.)
I’m writing to follow up on an email I sent a few weeks back. I’ve talked with local bands [BAND 1] and [BAND 2] and we’d like to co-bill a show and work to promote the night together. Would [DATE] work on your end?
(Writing back because you have some locals who want to share the bill with you is something that most venues pay attention to – especially if you’re not local and the other bands are. A venue is more likely to book you when they know you have a connection with local artists who have draw.)
Things to Remember…
- Bookers Get Swamped. Remember that venue bookers get so many email pitches on a daily basis. Don’t take their failure to respond personally.
- Leave Time for Booking. Start booking months in advance. It allows you to leave time for waiting and following up. If you’re trying to book a tour 1 month out, it's not gonna go well.
- Use Your Phone Carefully! If the booking guidelines on a website say don’t call, DONT!! A phone can often be a booker's worst enemy and calling will make you their worst enemy too. But if that isn’t clear, consider calling to feel out a venue. Ask them what their booking protocol is, but DON’T pitch them over the phone. Last week I called a bookstore to ask about how they go about booking. They told me that they don’t begin the process til later in Winter because they only plan events after the weather improves. This saved me an email and gave me a little insight into their process, so I could write a more informed pitch (when the time comes) and plan when I’d like to tour through that city.
Most importantly, make sure that your original email has a good pitch – straight to the point, easy to read, much shorter than a book, and has good links to where the reader can find your material online."
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